( U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Erin Piazza)

U.S. Air Force fighter jets are patrolling the Persian Gulf, and they appear to be carrying guided cluster munitions capable of tearing apart Iranian swarm boats.

"F-15E Strike Eagles from the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are flying air operations in support of maritime surface warfare," the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing revealed this week, explaining that "their role is to conduct combat air patrol missions over the Arabian Gulf and provide aerial escorts of naval vessels as they traverse the Strait of Hormuz."

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Editor’s Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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The aviation world is abuzz with rumors that the U.S. Air Force is evaluating the purchase of a brand-new F-15X model of the legendary 45-year-old F-15 Eagle twin-engine fighter. Marcus Weisgerber first reported this possibility for Defense One, then expanded upon in an article by Tyler Rogoway at The Drive.

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The U.S. Air Force has been secretly organizing a plan to replace its F-15 C/D fleet with brand spanking new F-15X Eagle air superiority fighters, the Drive reported on Wednesday. This move could take the heat off of the service’s handful of F-22 Raptors or make up for F-35 shortcomings — and cushion the expenses involved in operating and maintaining two 5th-generation fighters.

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An Air Force F-15C pilot is in serious condition after ejecting from a fighter which crashed off Okinawa, Japan, on Monday, officials said.

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Within just 48 hours this week, four military aircraft crashed — unrelated incidents, but a cluster of disasters that is becoming depressingly familiar.

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